Mark Grebner

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Mark Grebner (born 1952) is an American politician, political consultant, and psephologist from the state of Michigan.


Grebner is a resident of East Lansing, Michigan. He was a student at Michigan State University in 1970, and became involved in politics at the time of the 18-year-old vote in 1971.[1] He was an Ingham County Commissioner from 1977 to 2012, except 1981-84, and served as board chair and chair of the Finance Committee.[2]

He is the president of Practical Political Consulting, a voter list and consulting firm which works mostly for Democrats in Michigan. In recent years, the firm has been expanding its operations to include Wisconsin.[3]

For almost 30 years, he has published Grading the Profs, which reports student survey results on Michigan State University teaching faculty.[4][5]

Grebner is a commentator on politics and political issues, and is often interviewed on radio[6][7][8] and television and quoted in news articles.[9][10][11][12][13] He also writes on "Technical Politics" for the web site Michigan Liberal.[14]

Grebner is noted for his iconoclastic and humorous political tactics. The New York Times wrote that "Calling Mr. Grebner eccentric would be too obvious."[15] David Josar, of the Detroit News, calls him "super wonk".[16] During his campaigns for election and re-election as county commissioner, he has used self-deprecating slogans such as "No Worse Than The Rest,"[17][18] "He May Be a Fool, But He's Our Fool,"[15] and (in a coupon book) "Buy One Politician, Get One Free."[15] A humorous letter he sent to his constituents in 1986, announcing his plans for re-election, was reprinted in the "Readings" section of Harper's Magazine.[19] In 2009 Grebner filed a lawsuit based on alterations to this Wikipedia page that he alleges were defamatory.[20][21]

Political activities[edit]

Grebner has been frequently involved in public controversies, typically as an advocate for liberal positions, for voting rights, for freedom of information, and for the interests of university students:

  • To resolve a $4 million deficit, the county's 2009 budget cut 19 full-time positions, including six in the sheriff's department, prompting criticism of possible impact on public safety. Grebner, as chair of the finance committee, defended the budget, saying: "It won't be unbearable; other [counties] get by with a lot less."[22]
  • In 2004 and 2006, his firm conducted a large-scale experiment, called ETOV, to "shame" nonvoters into participating in elections.[31][32] The results of the study were published in the American Political Science Review.[33]
  • An essay Grebner wrote about methods to increase voter turnout suggested a focus on jail inmates held before trial.[37]


  1. ^ Summer of Love: Bygone era marked by political change, freedom, State News, July 12, 2007
  2. ^ Ingham County Board of Commissioners web site
  3. ^ Grebner Masters the Art of the List, Lansing Business Monthly, February 2008
  4. ^ Updated pamphlet grades 'U' profs, State News, February 11, 2003
  5. ^ Golden grading, State News, February 12, 2003
  6. ^ Jack Lessenberry interviews Mark Grebner, Michigan Radio, November 1, 2006
  7. ^ Election 2004: Mark Grebner on the District 8 Congressional Race, WKAR Radio, July 12, 2004
  8. ^ Jack Lessenberry interviews Mark Grebner, Michigan Radio, April 28, 2008
  9. ^ Absentee Ballots Tainted?, Detroit News, October 30, 2005
  10. ^ Alternative poll: Prop 2 sure to pass, Michigan Daily, November 6, 2006
  11. ^ Obama is playing catch-up in Michigan, Detroit Free Press, June 4, 2008
  12. ^ McCain Makes a Run at Michigan, A Wavering Democratic Stronghold, Wall Street Journal, September 6, 2008
  13. ^ Obama effort worries some volunteers, Detroit Free Press, September 26, 2008
  14. ^ Michigan Liberal web site
  15. ^ a b c Getting a Lock on Michigan Voters, List by List, New York Times, November 7, 2000
  16. ^ "For first time, Cockrel ahead of Bing in robo-poll", Detroit News web site, April 14, 2009
  17. ^ Detroit Free Press, January 9, 2006
  18. ^ State House Campaigns Offer Poor Options, Lansing State Journal, editorial, October 23, 2008
  19. ^ A political soft-sell (campaign letter from Mark Grebner), Harper's, June 1987
  20. ^ "Grebner sues Dennis Lennox, two others for Wiki-based defamation", Michigan Liberal, Jul 08, 2009
  21. ^ Brayton, Ed (8 July 2009). "Grebner files libel suit over Wikipedia edits". The Michigan Messenger. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  22. ^ County Taking Drastic Measures to Control Budget, WLNS News, October 29, 2008
  23. ^ "Judge blocks Michigan's Jan. 15 primary," Detroit News, November 7, 2007
  24. ^ Judge rules for voters, principles, Detroit Free Press, November 10, 2007
  25. ^ "Court Rejects Early Primary," Washington Post, November 16, 2007
  26. ^ "Michigan Court OK's Early Primary," New York Times, November 21, 2007
  27. ^ Lawsuit disputes rules for primary, Ann Arbor News, January 12, 2008
  28. ^ Green Party of Michigan et al v. Michigan Secretary of State
  29. ^ Grebner v Clinton Charter Township, 216 Mich App 736
  30. ^ Grebner v. Schiebel, Wisconsin Court of Appeals, 2000
  31. ^ Analyst plans to publicize voting records, Lansing State Journal, August 3, 2004
  32. ^ Attention: This man is watching you, Lansing City Pulse, August 1, 2006
  33. ^ "Social Pressure and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Largescale Field Experiment", American Political Science Review, February 2008
  34. ^ Grebner has one word for animal activists: ‘Fanatics’, Lansing City Pulse, April 16, 2003
  35. ^ Animal rights story mostly right, Lansing City Pulse, April 23, 2003
  36. ^ County likely to ban smoking at work sites, Lansing City Pulse, January 9, 2002
  37. ^ Seeking a captive audience, Detroit Free Press, February 20, 2008

External links[edit]